Social & Policy Sciences MPhil and PhD
Qualifications and durations
The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme will enable you to conduct supervised research into your chosen topic and produce a written thesis (typically up to 70,000 words). You can complete the MPhil in 1 to 3 years (full-time) or up to 4 years (part-time).
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme comprises a more significant piece of research which will enable you to contribute to the academic community through a larger written thesis (typically up to 90,000 words). You can complete your PhD in 2 to 4 years (full-time) or up to 6 years (part-time).
Many of our part-time students also work in a professional role directly related to their research, or sometimes as an academic in another university in the UK or elsewhere.
Staff and students discuss the PhD experience.
Students carry out a supervised programme of research at the leading edge of their chosen subject. From an initial proposal, students design and conduct a research programme under the direction of one or two members of our academic staff. The PhD research is written up as a substantial thesis and assessed in an extensive oral examination. You can choose to study any topic in which we have research expertise. Details of research staff expertise and interests are available on individual staff pages.
Benefits of the MPhil and PhD
- An opportunity to undertake original, in-depth research under expert supervision, within a supportive and vibrant research student community.
- Access to advanced inter-disciplinary training in methodological skills, substantive subjects and additional research and presentation skills at the University of Bath and as part of the South West Doctoral Training Centre (with Universities of Bristol and Exeter).
- The opportunity to present your work and discuss it with other researchers working on similar topics and participate in departmental research centre activities.
- The opportunity to develop skills and a broader knowledge base by contributing to teaching.
The excellence of the research undertaken within the Department of Social & Policy Sciences has been recognised most recently by the award of the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011.
Current student projects
Take an insight into what some of our current students are researching »
South West Doctoral Training Centre
This programme is recognised as being part of the following ESRC-funded South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) pathways:
- Area & Development Studies (discipline-specific pathway)
- Social Policy (discipline-specific pathway)
- Social Work (discipline-specific pathway)
- Health & Wellbeing (interdisciplinary pathway)
- Security, Conflict & Justice (interdisciplinary pathway)
- Global Political Economy (interdisciplinary pathway)
We are an internationally-recognised research-intensive Department with a strong focus on policy and practice, and a commitment to contribute to social wellbeing and social justice. We offer supervisory expertise in four disciplines:
- International Development
- Social Policy
- Social work
Our PhDs are not formally assigned a discipline and successful candidates can describe their PhD to reflect its main research area (e.g. PhD in Social Policy; PhD in International Development).
We have particular strengths in international and comparative research across the globe in all our disciplines. Our staff have published research on the UK, Europe, South and South-East Asia, East and West Africa, and Latin America, among others. Our staff, and research students, conduct research across disciplinary boundaries, and frequently work with colleagues from other disciplines in the department, as well as with colleagues in politics, psychology, economics.
The international and interdisciplinary focus of our research is reflected in the topics of our current research students and in the atmosphere of our lively and active research student community.
- First or 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject, from a recognised university.
- A Masters degree or appropriate research training is also normally required. We consider applicants without Masters or appropriate research training on a case by case basis. We might require applicants to satisfactorily complete one of our Masters programmes, or to attend some/all of the units of our MRes programmes while undertaking the MPhil or PhD programme.
Certificates must be dated to within two years of the start of the programme of study.
- IELTS 7.0 (with no less than 6.5 in each of the four components)
- PTE Academic of 69 with no less than 62 in any component
If you wish to improve your English proficiency before commencing your studies, pre-sessional language training can be arranged through the Academic Skills Centre.
- Two references are required. At least one of these should be an academic reference.
How to apply
You can must apply to study through the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Graduate School.
- Tuition fees
- Estimated Living Expenses including a Sample Budget Guide
- Cost of Printing final Soft-, and then Hard-Bound theses
Potential sources of funding
You can find our more about funding opportunities by viewing our webinar.
Tel: +44 (0)1225 38 6180
Main areas of research
We are an internationally-recognised research-intensive department with a strong focus on policy and practice and a commitment to contribute to social wellbeing and social justice.
We draw together academic staff with backgrounds in Social Policy, Sociology, Social Work and International Development and work closely with colleagues in Psychology, Economics, and Health.
We also have an active and vibrant community of research students undertaking their own research alongside our academic staff.
- Centre for the Analysis of Social Policy (CASP)
- Centre for Death and Society (CDAS)
- Centre for Development Studies (CDS)
- Wellbeing in Developing Countries Research (WeD)
- History of Technology Research Unit (HOTRU)
Our five research themes are:
- Children, young people, families
- Lifelong health and wellbeing
- Work, welfare, and poverty
- Global transformations and insecurity
- Governance and policy design
Find out more about our staff and their research interests.
The Department of Social & Policy Sciences includes academics from social policy, sociology, social work and international development.
The international excellence of our research was recognised by the award of the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011.
We are committed to advancing learning and knowledge through teaching and research. Our Department collaborates with a wide range of users at the local, national, European and global levels.
We offer a wide range of postgraduate programmes. Our postgraduate teaching strongly reflects our research and our links to policy-makers and development institutions at the national, European and global level.
Our Department also has an active MPhil/PhD research programme. We take great pride in fostering a friendly and supportive learning environment.
We run a lively and well attended postgraduate research seminar series. Each of the Research Centres run seminar series and conferences associated with their research activities. The University of Bath also has a Research in the World public lecture series where key national and international academics are invited to speak.
We are committed to ensuring that postgraduate students acquire a range of subject-specific and generic skills during their training. Our graduates generally go on to work in a wide variety of organisations, for example:
- social research in universities and research institutes, government, business, voluntary organisations and international organisations
- public policy analysis at local, national and international levels
- public information and campaigning within organisations concerned with wellbeing, sustainability and social justice.